Have you ever realized, as a business owner you frequently repeat some tasks more than twice daily? If yes is your response, I bet you also didn't realize the amount of time used to repeatedly do the same tasks. For example, after a sample session with a potential client, I explain my services, fees and expectations as well as ask a series of questions to see if we will be a good fit for one another. This process took an additional 15 – 20 minutes beyond the allotted sample session time. I decided that I could save time and close the sale quicker if this process was automated, so I developed a Welcome Packet and Questions that the potential client received 24 hours prior to our sample session. The client is required to emailed responses to the questions prior to our session. It not only saved time but it allowed us to show up for the session prepared and informed about each other’s expectations and it allowed the client to make a quicker decision.
Here are five ways to automate your business immediately:
Write A Job Description
I am amazed at the amount of business owners who do not have a clear written job description of their duties. You must know what you do and what is expected of you in your business. Take a few minutes and jot down what you do. Include everything even if it seems trivial. List the items, it doesn't have to be in order but you need to include all your duties. This is the starting point of automating your business; you must know what you do and how often it is done. Next to each line item, write a number estimating how often the task it done. For example: 1. Write a sales letter – 3 times monthly
Write A Step-By-Step Process For Each
Once you have a job description, write your process for completing the task. For example, if one of your task is marketing. Than write the process of one of your marketing strategies. If speaking is a marketing strategy for you, write what you must do before a speaking engagement. Your steps may look like this:
Booking a Speaking Engagement
1. Research target market
2. Research a topic
3. Create a presentation
4. Edit the presentation or hire an editor
5. Look for speaking engagements
6. Send out a press release
7. Make cold calls
8. Schedule presentation on calendar
Create A Work Flow Chart
Use your step-by-step process to create a work flow chart. Use sticky notes to write each step and decide the exact order. The sticky notes allow you to change the order of steps around as needed, until you decided on final format. This will help you to create a plan and flow of your duties. You will never miss a step or waste time deciding what comes next. Whenever you need to prepare for a speaking engagement, you now have a flow chart of the necessary steps needed to take in order to complete the task. This will organize your workflow and create a clear concise system & thus preventing the accidental elimination of tasks.
Create Templates and Forms
Now you know what you do and how you do it. Make it more simplistic and create a template or form to use repeatedly instead of reinventing the wheel daily. When speaking to potential clients, what information do you ask consistently? Don't rely on your memory, create a client prospect form and write every question you need to capture from the prospect? Do most of your clients ask similar questions? Why not create a most frequently asked questions list and email it to them instead of answering the same questions over and over! If you network offline and have one- on-one meetings with business owners in order to provide referrals, create a form to ask about the business owner's ideal customers, etc and staple her business card to the form for future reference for referrals. I can’t stress the importance of creating and using forms and templates to establish organization in your business. You will never miss obtaining the information you really need to capture and you will be organized and save time.
Peruse your job description again to notate if there are any items that can be delegated to a virtual assistant, current employee, etc. If you decide to delegate a task, it will be so easy, because you now have a step-by-step process, forms & templates that will make the delegation process easier and quicker. Delegating tasks allows you to concentrate on your expertise and free you from daily mundane task that take up time. Once an item is delegated, take it off your job description or highlight it as delegated. As many items that you can delete from your job description allows more time for your business productivity